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Hips, ‘Husky’ Girls, and Japanese Sewing Patterns

Clothing for Everyday Wear: Stylish Dress Book by Toshiko Tsukiori

A few days ago I got my copy of the English Translation of Stylish Dress Book: Clothing for Everyday Wear by Yoshiko Tsukiori (Laurence King). It was an impulse buy when I was browsing sewing books on Amazon a few weeks ago. I just happened to see it when I was in the midst of my I-don’t-have-everyday-dresses-in-my-wardrobe revelation (see Everyday Dresses). I liked the images I saw on Amazon so I pre-ordered it. This will be my second book of Japanese sewing patterns. I’ve also got Shape Shape by Natsuno Hiraiwa.

But now that I’ve flipped through the book, some doubts are creeping in. The models do not have curvy figures and they are rather thin. I have wide hips and I’m not a small person. I’m nearly 5′ 8″ (172 cm for you metric folks) and weigh more than 150 pounds (68 kg). Really.

Back when I was a kid in the late ’70s, my mom got me and my older sister jeans at Sears. I remember that we got the same size (she’s 11 months older) except that I got the “husky” version and she got regular (or was it slim?). I wasn’t overweight, just bigger boned. But I didn’t like being categorized as “husky.” Out of curiosity, I went to Sears website and checked out girls clothing. Guess what? “Husky” has been changed to “pretty plus” for girls but for boys, they still say “husky.”

OK – so maybe there’s still a teeny part of me that says I’m husky. I need to cultivate more of Leila‘s attitude of just being happy with my body as it is. (Check out her thoughtful post Before and After Pictures and Their Inaccuracies.)

The key is to make clothes to fit your body – not make your body fit the clothes, right? So I will see what I can do with this Japanese pattern book.

Here’s a preview of some of the outfits in the book. I think the designs and fabrics are all quite pretty. There are plenty of dresses but the book also includes patterns for tops, jackets, and pants. Maybe I’ll start with a top.

It will be interesting to see whether any of the dress patterns will suit me and my hips! I’ve been assured by @sew_la  via our convo on Instagram that Japanese patterns will work on a hip-y figure. ;)

And thanks to MaciNic of  The Somnolent Dachshund for telling me about the blog Japanese Sewing Books! Lots of photos there – though none yet from this book.

Stylish Dress Book: Clothing for Everyday Wear - csews.com

Stylish Dress Book - Clothing for Everyday Wear - csews.com

Stylish Dress Book: Clothing for Everyday Wear - csews.com

NOTE: If you haven’t used patterns from a Japanese pattern book before, be warned, on these patters you usually have to add a seam allowance and you cannot cut out the pattern. Multiple patterns are printed on both sides of the paper and the pattern lines overlap. This means you need to trace the pattern. I’m fine with tracing patterns but I sure wish they would use a different type of line for each size, which would make it easier to trace. I love that American patterns vary the lines for each size (dots, dashes, etc.).

Here’s what you’ll see when take one of the pattern sheets out of the plastic sleeve in the back of the book:

Stylish Dress Book - sewing pattern

Stylish Dress Book - sewing pattern

Yeah, it’s rather a mishmash of lines so you do have to stare at it to make sure you’re tracing the right ones. The technical illustrations are very nice so you can always look at those to make sure you’ve got the correct pieces.

Do you think these dress patterns will work on a figure with hips? Have you made any Japanese sewing patterns? If you have any tips, let me know!

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Author:Chuleenan

Chuleenan Svetvilas is a writer who sews and collects hats and shoes. She is a fabric addict and loves classic films and vintage clothes.

4 Responses to “Hips, ‘Husky’ Girls, and Japanese Sewing Patterns”

  1. November 9, 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Oh! This one I don’t have yet. I try to buy one of the sewing books or magazines whenever I am in Japan Town in San Francisco. I am your size, & unless they are really fitted patterns, most fit me. I love that they are doing these in English now. Tracing when they are all in Japanese can be tricky! Thanks for the post, I’ll look for this one too.

    • November 9, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

      That’s good to know! I guess it’s good that the patterns aren’t really fitted so I hope size large will be large enough. It is nice that there are English translations! Let me know if you make anything from this book. ;)

  2. November 3, 2013 at 9:56 am #

    I enjoyed this post and it raises many questions that I have about these styles for women. Saying that, I am a huge fan of these books, and have even bought some just for the illustrations/diagrams of different sewing techniques. Most of my sewing, using these books, has been for children, but at the moment I’m working on a top for myself. I’ll let you know how it goes :-)

    • November 3, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      Thanks! I think when I make something from one of these patterns that fabric selection will be really important. Fabric with a lot of drape or maybe a rayon jersey as @arubyrosebud suggested to me on Instagram. Maybe it’s time to use some knit fabric in my stash. Do let me know how your top works out!

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